Returning to the Work We Never Left Behind
by Dick Kaser
When we started planning this issue months ago, we assumed that by the time it published, our lives would have returned to normal—or at least some semblance of the before-COVID-19 times. That may not be as true as we had hoped, but this back-to-work issue was meant to restore our editorial focus on long-term priorities. Whether we have actually achieved, in the words of President Warren G. Harding, a “return to normalcy” is irrelevant. In fact, libraries never gave up on their top priorities during lockdown, as this issue illustrates.
Yes, there was a pandemic raging, but that didn’t stop librarians at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., from migrating their ILS to a new cloud-based library platform. In their case study, Alyssa Koclanes, Nancy Schuler, and Heather Bush outline the phases and best practices for a successful ILS migration.
Challenging conditions didn’t stop visiting librarian Tom Adamich from thinking about how to digitize a collection of handwritten Civil War letters. After his crash course on OCR optimization, he shares what he learned about applying machine learning to the task of converting digital images into machine-readable texts.
And nothing deterred the passion of Evelyn Hudson (Hazard Community and Technical College Library) from rescuing a rich regional oral history collection trapped on deteriorating cassettes and setting its colorful narrative free on the web.
Meanwhile, in San Jose, Calif., the chatbot developed by interns at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library couldn’t have been launched at a better time. Librarians Sharesly Rodriguez and Christina Mune tell how it filled a void while the library was locked down and how it will play an ongoing role as the library reopens.
While we had intended to hold Internet Librarian in person, Information Today, Inc. made the decision to hold the conference virtually this year. I hope that you will join us later this month, for all of the conversation and none of the airline baggage fees.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor